Many people are attracted to hybrid and electric cars for a variety of reasons. Cutting down on tailpipe emissions, fewer to no stops at gas stations, and other advantages can be enjoyed by anyone willing to take the plunge. One area of concern that quite a few shoppers have is what kind of maintenance hybrids and electrics require. After all, maintaining hybrid cars and fully-electric vehicles can seem daunting, considering how technologically advanced they are. This guide to maintaining an electric or hybrid car will help you feel less intimidated!
Guide to Maintaining an Electric or Hybrid Car
Electric and hybrid cars have many of the same components as standard gasoline automobiles, so most areas which need repair are similar to your typical vehicle.
Remember that hybrid cars still have a gasoline engine, which works in tandem at least part of the time with one or more electric motors. That means the usual maintenance items you would expect with a traditional vehicle will be required on electric hybrid vehicles, such as oil changes, timing belt replacements, valve adjustments, etc. Of course, the amount of maintenance required and the cost varies from one model to the next, so it’s a good idea to check out how different options compare before you make a final purchase decision.
The owner’s manual in your vehicle, or the manufacturer’s website, should offer detailed instructions on how to care for the engine. A maintenance schedule should be part of the instructions, taking the guesswork out of when you should have certain items addressed by a technician.
There are also diesel electric hybrid car models on the market. Like the gasoline versions, these require the same kinds of maintenance items as the traditional version of the same vehicle.
One big advantage of hybrid cars is that the gasoline or diesel engine isn’t put under as much strain, when compared to non-hybrid versions of the same model. This means wear and tear on the engine is less, so if maintained properly it should continue running without any major problems far longer.
Both hybrid and electric vehicles come with at least one electric motor. There are few moving parts in them, a stark contrast with gasoline engines. That means less can break or go wrong, so little maintenance is required. When components do wear out, it’s far easier for a technician to replace them, so the cost is quite a bit lower.
When looking at hybrid car repair, you might be surprised to find there’s really nothing beyond what you’d do with a traditional vehicle. The manufacturer has a checklist of items that should be inspected at certain mileage intervals, with many of them matching what you’d do with any other car. A qualified technician who’s familiar with your specific vehicle make will know exactly what to look for in terms of potential problems, catching them before they can develop into something serious.
Little of the regular maintenance items involve hybrid-specific components, although how much this is true depends on the exact hybrid model you own. Unlike gasoline engines, batteries and electric motors don’t need oil changes, valve adjustments, or even new timing belts on a regular basis. In other words, you’ll actually need to spend less to maintain the hybrid system on your car, making it a wise financial move.
Hybrid and electric cars for the most part use coolant, just like traditional vehicles. Not only do hybrid cars have an internal combustion engine to keep below dangerous temperatures, it also must regulate the temperature of the battery pack. This means sending the coolant over a larger area of the car, which requires a more complex setup.
You must maintain the liquid at an ideal level, otherwise the car won’t run correctly. In some extreme cases, a vehicle could suffer serious damage from overheating because of a lack of coolant. It’s a good idea to check the coolant level once a week, or more if you’re driving in especially hot weather.
Just like other vehicles, hybrid and electric cars need coolant changes at regular intervals. Because of the more complex nature of the cooling system, this particular maintenance item can be more involved. That translates into more expensive, because techs must perform more work each time. The good news is the coolant usually doesn’t have to be replaced any more often than in other vehicles.
Some people have been concerned about buying a hybrid or electric car because of the potential cost of replacing batteries. It’s an honest worry, considering that with traditional cars an owner will replace the battery multiple times.
Unlike the batteries in traditional cars, the batteries in electric hybrid vehicles are large, complex and quite expensive. It’s understandable that anyone would be worried about replacing such a costly component, especially if it needs to be replaced every few years.
The fact is that may hybrids and electric vehicles run for well over 150,000 miles on the original battery pack. There are electrified taxis in cities such as New York and San Francisco that have been able to go well over the 200,000-mile mark without replacing the battery. In other words, you don’t really need to worry about this any more than you need to worry about replacing the engine in a traditional car.
Are you the proud owner of an electric or hybrid car and want to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape? T3 Atlanta services all Infiniti, Toyota, Nissan, and Lexus vehicles. Call us at our Smyrna (404 794-7700) or Decatur ( 404) 633-7722) locations, and we’ll get you back on the road in no time.